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If you are planning to go on holiday to Greece or are already in Greece and planning to return to England, you might be subject to new coronavirus quarantine measures recently announced by the UK government. On 7 September, the government updated its travel corridor list announcing that seven Greek islands were to be added to the UK’s quarantine list.
The affected islands are:
The new rules
As of 4am on 9 September, and until further notice, if you are returning to England from any of the above Greek islands, you will have to self-isolate for a total of 14 days.
The new rules bring England in line with Wales, where mandatory quarantine requirements for international arrivals from six Greek islands (Antiparos, Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Paros and Zakynthos) have already been imposed.
Scotland has also already put quarantine restrictions on the whole of Greece. Northern Ireland, however, has Greece as a country exempt from its quarantine requirements.
In justifying these new changes, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned that there was a significant risk to UK public health from these Greek islands that justified their placement on the quarantine list.
What you’ll need to do before travelling to the UK
If you will be arriving in the UK from any of the seven Greek islands or even from countries and territories that aren’t on the UK’s quarantine list, you will need to provide your journey and contact details. This entails completing the public health passenger locator form online.
It’s worth noting that you cannot submit this form more than 48 hours before you are due to arrive. On arrival in the UK, you will need to show proof of the document at the border.
In case you are coming from a region that is on the UK’s quarantine list, this information will be used by the government to confirm that you are self-isolating. The government can also use the information to contact you if someone on your flight, ship or train tests positive for COVID-19.
Also note that failure to provide your contact details may lead to a fine of up to £100, or more if you break this rule more than once.
You might even be refused entry into the country if you are not a UK citizen.
Positive changes in the UK quarantine measures
The addition of the seven Greek islands to the UK’s quarantine list is without a doubt frustrating for travellers. There is there is something positive about this announcement, however.
The new announcement marks a shift in the government’s policy on quarantine rules. Previously, all quarantine rules were applied to entire countries.
Now, for the first time since the UK started implementing these rules, there are distinctions for specific regions.
The government seems to have listened to the discontent expressed by travellers and travel companies regarding the countrywide application of quarantine rules. Some found this to be unfair since countries where cases are isolated to small regions have been included as a whole on the quarantine list.
If this regional application of quarantine rules continues, it could restore some confidence in people’s travel plans. and the tourism industry, which has undoubtedly suffered massively since the beginning of the pandemic.
Some important advice
If you had booked a trip to any of the seven Greek islands added to the UK’s quarantine list, check with your travel operator to see whether the trip is still on.
If you no longer wish to travel, confirm whether you can request a full cash refund or amend your trip details for free.
For example, UK travel operator TUI has cancelled all trips to the seven Greek islands before 22 September. If you were due to travel to any of the islands before this date, you will be able to request a full refund or amend your trip for free.
However, keep in mind that not all operators have cancelled bookings for Greece. Your trip may still be going ahead and you may have to pay a fee if you cancel. To be safe, talk with your operator to find out your options.
If you decide to travel, whether it is to Greece or another country, don’t forget to observe rules. Wear a mask when required, wash your hands often and practice social distancing where possible.
Also remember that some places are not currently accepting cash. You might have to pay for your expenses through other means.
One option to consider is a travel credit card that does not charge for foreign transactions and has no cash withdrawal fees. During these tough times, when every single penny counts, a travel credit card could help.
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